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Understanding Uric Acid Test: The Purpose and Procedure of this Vital Test

Understanding Uric Acid Test: The Purpose and Procedure of this Vital Test

Your body is always working, every single minute. Blood flows, the brain works hard, and your stomach breaks down that late-night snack even while you are sleeping. Every time you eat food, your body eliminates the waste and extracts the beneficial nutrients, like vitamins and proteins from it. Uric acid is usually one of those waste products. It forms when the purines that are present in some foods are broken down by your digestive juices. Your body excretes most of the uric acid when you urinate, and some of it when you defecate.

While some uric acid in the blood is perfectly normal, elevated levels can have negative health effects. This is known as hyperuricemia, and there are several potential underlying causes for it. Kidney disease, some blood cancers, genetic metabolic disorders, hypothyroidism, psoriasis, rhabdomyolysis, hemolytic anemia, specific drugs, and a diet high in purines are some of the causes behind hyperuricemia.

Uric acid testing is not a standard blood test procedure. However, measuring your uric acid levels can be helpful if you have a health issue that is related to or caused by high levels of uric acid. You should work to reduce your uric acid levels because they can lead to gout.  A uric acid blood test is necessary to determine the amount of uric acid in your blood if you exhibit gout symptoms. This test is also sometimes referred to as a serum urate test, or UA test. Let’s know more about this test in the following article.

What is the Uric Acid Test?

This test determines how much uric acid is present in a sample of your urine or blood. Your body naturally produces uric acid as a waste product from the breakdown of substances known as purines. Your cells release purines when they die. Numerous foods and drinks also contain purines.

The majority of uric acid is dissolved in blood. Urine is the body's way of excreting uric acid, which your kidneys remove from your blood. Uric acid can crystallize into needle-shaped deposits in and around your joints if it accumulates in your blood. This disorder is known as gout. It is a form of arthritis that causes pain as well as swelling in your joints. Kidney stones and renal failure can also occur due to high uric acid levels.

What is the Purpose of the Uric Acid Test? 

A uric acid test is one for following purposes:
●    Diagnosis: It helps in diagnosing certain health conditions such as gout. In this case it is done along with synovial fluid analysis for determination of the disease.
●    Monitoring: In gout patients, it also aids in monitoring the likelihood of developing kidney stones. It is also done to monitor uric acid levels in patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy or other cancer treatments. Cancer cells release a lot of purines into the blood when they are rapidly killed during chemotherapy. Because of the elevated uric acid levels, this may cause major issues. Testing enables early treatment of elevated levels of uric acid.

Principle Behind Uric Acid Test

The main principle behind this test is based on the breakdown products of genetic material (DNA & RNA) of cells. When a cell dies, there occurs the disintegration of genetic material into purines. High purine diets also increase purine levels in the body. These purines break down into uric acid in the blood, elevating its blood levels. This condition is called hyperuricemia which may cause gout (inflammation of joint due to raised uric acid). Raised uric acid levels in the blood indicate impaired filtration of uric acid from the kidney. It also indicates the increased activities associated with cell death in the body.

What Does Uric Acid Test Measure?

Uric acid is created when purines, which are nitrogen-containing substances present in all of the body's cells, break down. The uric acid content of the blood or urine is determined by this test.

Uric Acid Test Preparation 

There are no special preparations required before your Uric Acid Test. However, make sure to discuss with your doctor any more tests that might be performed on the same visit, as some of them might require you to fast, alter your diet, or make other preparations in advance.

Uric Acid Test Procedure

A blood sample is typically needed for the uric acid test, and this is typically taken from your arm in a lab, hospital, health clinic, or doctor's office. On the other hand, a 24-hour urine collection sample might be recommended in certain circumstances.
For blood sample:
●    The band is tied on the upper arm just below your shoulder to pressurize your vein and enhance blood flow during a uric acid test.
●    The skin around the vein in your elbow pit will be thoroughly cleaned with a sterile wipe before the small needle is inserted. 
●    A sample of your blood will be drawn using a tube that is attached to the needle.
●    It will take no more than five minutes to complete this process. 
●    An ingredient that stops the blood from clotting in the sample will be added to the blood sample and stored in a cartridge.
For 24 hour-urine sample:
●     You must collect all the urine you produce in a 24-hour period for this test.

Uric Acid Test Result Interpretation

Test results are generally obtained within a day. It has been determined that the normal range of uric acid in blood is between 3.5 and 7.2 mg/dL for adult males and postmenopausal women, and between 2.6 and 6.0 mg/dL for premenopausal women.
Higher than normal values indicate: 
●    Gout
●    Impaired kidney function
●    Ongoing cancer treatment
●    Multiple myeloma
●    Metastatic cancer
●    Leukemia
●    Purine rich diet
Lower than normal values (uncommon to detect) indicate:
●    Certain liver or kidney diseases ( such as syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone or SIADH) 
●    Fanconi syndrome
●    Exposure to toxic compounds
●    Low-purine diet
●    Certain medications (like allopurinol, aspirin in high-dose)
●    Rarely inherited metabolic defect (like Wilson’s disease)
●    Chronic alcohol use
●    Lead poisoning

Conclusion

Ask all the questions you have; it can be confusing to interpret the results of medical tests. As usual, make sure to discuss your results with the doctor who treats you in the context of your overall health. Tests such as your uric acid level can provide significant guidance for your possible treatment approaches. 
Fortunately, you can check your uric acid levels accurately as soon as possible with Dr. B. Lal Labs. Book your test now.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Can uric acid be tested at home?

A: While they exist, uric acid at-home test kits are not widely used. The majority of at-home test kits use a finger prick blood sample to determine the uric acid concentration in blood.

Q2: Can I do uric acid treatment at home?

A: There is no food that lowers uric acid. On the other hand, limiting your intake of purine-rich foods and drinks may help you naturally reduce your levels. These could include fish, shellfish, poultry, red meat, sugar, and organ meats. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are a few foods that are good for gout.

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